Trump rescinding DACA program; Colorado U.S. senator calls it ‘height of cruelty’
President Donald Trump on Tuesday began dismantling the government program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children. Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared the Obama administration’s program “an unconstitutional exercise of authority” that must be revoked.
New applications will be halted for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits.
“I’m here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Sessions announced.
But the administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix — “should it choose to,” Sessions said — before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered by the program.
In Colorado and Garfield County, politicians and other prominent community members have responded to the decision.
ROARING FORK SCHOOLS
Roaring Fork Schools Superintendent Rob Stein said in a statement that he was “disappointed to learn of the discontinuation of DACA and hopes that Congress will act soon in passing the DREAM act or similar legislation.”
“We as a school district affirm that our schools remain safe, inclusive, supportive and positive environments, and we will continue to provide a haven for all students and their families. We know that many students and families are struggling with questions, concerns and fears about the national landscape regarding immigration, especially in light of the DACA announcement this morning.
“Our critical mission – and our obligation under the law – is to ensure that our schools be safe spaces where race, ethnicity, religion and immigration status do not create any barriers to a student’s education.”
Joel Hathaway, principal at Glenwood Springs Middle School, said students were more focused today on it being the first day of school.
“But as concerned citizens and educators, there is rightfully a great deal of concern and a reason to keep an eye on what’s going on so that we can help the parts of our community that could be affected,” Hathaway said.
U.S. SENATOR MICHAEL BENNET
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, said in a statement, “Today’s announcement is a devastating betrayal for the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have used the security of DACA status to receive an education, pursue careers and safely put down roots in their communities.”
Bennet called Trump’s decision, “the height of cruelty.”
“It’s an attempt to score political points by separating families and disrupting schools and workplaces. The president has revealed his priorities and values; in response, bipartisan leaders in business, education and local government around the country have spoken up in defense of DACA. Congress must work together to find a legislative solution to protect Dreamers.”
CONGRESSMAN SCOTT R. TIPTON
“President Obama circumvented the Constitution when he unilaterally created the DACA program without going through the legislative process. Today’s announcement by Attorney General Sessions shows this administration’s commitment to the rule of law,” Tipton said in a statement.
“While I do not support the unilateral DACA program, I believe Congress must act to develop a compassionate and commonsense solution for the children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents.
“These individuals have grown up in the United States and are now upstanding, valued members of our communities. They should not be punished for a decision that was made by their parents years ago.”
COLORADO EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
“All students have the right to learn, including the innocent children protected by DACA. The president has made an awful decision to rescind DACA, and it will be a deep wound for every educator who advances opportunity for these children every day as they study in the only land they have ever called home,” communications director Mike Wetzel said in a statement. ”
Many brilliant educators will be subject to deportation too, and our state will be immeasurably weaker without their professionalism and heartfelt dedication for students. We won’t stand for political games that will rip so many bright, young minds out of Colorado and our country. Our 36,000 members vow to stand up for the rights of our undocumented students and their families in this very dark moment, and we insist Colorado officials at every level do the same.”
UNITED FARMWORKERS OF AMERICA
“President Trump has left 800,000 lives in limbo by rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). We condemn this appalling and counterproductive action,” United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez said in a statement.
“Donald Trump is scapegoating immigrants who were already vetted by the federal government and who are not a threat to our country. Trump taking DACA away from Dreamers so that he can try to deport them is heartless and immoral.
“Many Dreamers are farm workers who feed this nation or their sons and daughters. They are also doctors, lawyers, researchers, students—all of them supporting America. This is the only home most of them have known.
“Although this decision is a hard blow to the beliefs and values we share as a country, we will continue standing up for and protecting immigrant families. This fight is far from over.”
HISPANIC NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
“While only providing temporary relief, DACA was designed to address the decade-long stalemate in Congress on immigration reform and give young Americans who live in this country without proper legal status, through no fault of their own, the opportunity to contribute fully to the only country they call home,” said HNBA National President Torres-Díaz in a statement.
“Now that the Trump Administration has effectively ended the program, the nation and the over 800,000 students, entrepreneurs, public servants and military servicemen and women must now look to Congress to take swift and humane action to close this chapter in our history and provide the stability these individuals need to continue to contribute to every segment in our society. With several legislative proposals in Congress enjoying broad bipartisan support designed to protect these individuals, we encourage Congress to act in a manner that upholds our American tradition of immigration and compassion.”
The Post Independent will update this article as more information is made available.
Associated Press contributed to this article